Issue Date: July 11, 2011
CDC Lacks Antibiotic Resistance Data
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention has limited data on the use of antibiotics in humans and the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant infections, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report concludes. The report (GAO-11-406) recommends that CDC develop strategies to improve its monitoring of antibiotic use and disposal, as well as its tracking of antibiotic-resistant infections. “Because use contributes to resistance, more complete information could help policymakers determine what portion of antibiotic resistance is attributed to human antibiotic use, and set priorities for action to control the spread of resistance,” the report states. More than 7 million lb of antibiotics were sold for human use in 2009, according to GAO. Although CDC has taken steps to improve its monitoring of antibiotic use, data gaps are likely to remain, the report predicts. In particular, CDC lacks data on inpatient antibiotic use and geographic antibiotic use patterns. CDC also has limited data on antibiotic-resistant infections that occur in health care facilities, and the data it does have are not nationally representative, GAO finds.
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